InfoTrends and Lyra Research have each released new research reports on personalized digital photo products. Both companies forecast growth for such merchandise, which is good news for the services that deliver such products as well as the OEMs that manufacture the equipment on which these products are printed. However, another recent report from InfoTrends indicates that online photo sharing is climbing. Online photo sharing has been the bane of the market for photo prints, but it appears that neither research firm expects that the market for photo books and other specialty photo products will be similarly impacted.
InfoTrends’ 2011 Western European Photo Merchandise Forecast indicates that sales of photo merchandise in Western Europe will climb from 161 million units in 2011 to nearly 250 million units in 2015. InfoTrends defines photo merchandise as photo books, photo cards, and photo calendars. Germany and the UK are the two biggest consumers of such photo merchandise, and InfoTrends indicates that the photo book market in Germany is particularly strong. The report includes actual shipment and revenue numbers and average selling prices for 2010 and forecast data for 2011 through 2015. The report is available now for $4,995.
Lyra Research’s latest report, The 2011 Consumer Photo Book Market: Turning Family Treasures into Profits, examines the growing personalized photo product business, in particular photo books. According to Lyra, the photo book category continued to grow throughout the recession. The research firm estimates that by 2014, worldwide gross profits from photo books will reach one-third the profits from photo prints. Lyra points out, “This is quite remarkable considering that photo print profits will be derived from approximately 50 billion prints worldwide that year, while photo book profits will be derived from fewer than 78 million books.” The 2011 Consumer Photo Book Market: Turning Family Treasures into Profit contains a combination of primary market research and forecast data for the photo book market. The report is available now for $1,695.
InfoTrends’ 2011 U.S. Image Sharing Forecast reveals that camera phone images shared online in the United States will double from 11 billion images in 2010 to 22 billion in 2015. According to InfoTrends, more camera phone images are shared on social networking sites than by other Web sites and e-mail combined. The firm forecasts that by 2013, more digital camera images will be shared on social networking sites than the other methods combined. Alan Bullock, an associate director at InfoTrends, commented, “Consumers are viewing and sharing their photos in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago, and the ability to share photos straight from the picture-taking device has become essential. Digital imaging vendors and service providers must adapt to these changes and provide consumers with a simple and convenient way to transfer their photos from their capture device to other viewing and sharing channels.” 2011 U.S. Image Sharing Forecast is available for $1,995.
It appears that revenue from photo prints is declining as end users continue to share more photos electronically, particularly via social networking sites. Increasingly, when consumers choose to print images, they are electing to print customized photo merchandise such as photo books. As the Lyra report indicates, such products deliver far more profit than snapshot prints. InfoTrends and Lyra Research both expect that such photo merchandise will remain popular even as more photos are shared via social media sites.
We believe both research firms are right in their assessment that the market for customized photo merchandise will continue to grow, as customers perceive these products as high-value, “special” ways to preserve memories. Moreover, in our experience, various photo services have done a good job of making it easier for consumers to make and print customized photo products and adding new and compelling customizable products to their lineups. The onus, however, is on the creators of customizable photo products to continue to improve them in terms of ease of use, cost, and attractiveness. Because, in this day and age, it is hard to predict when the next digital technology, website, or application will catch on and upset the markets for printed output, even high-value photo products such as photo books or other customized photo products.